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Domus Acipenseris

Greatest General in History

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https://towardsdatascience.com/napoleon-was-the-best-general-ever-and-the-math-proves-it-86efed303eeb

 

This data scientist created a baseball-like WAR (Wins Above Replacement) formula for generals.  He has Napoleon as #1.  Some other greats like Shingen and Grant rank high but so does McClellan.

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I'm fairly skeptical of the ability of any model to realistically simplify all the factors affecting tactical success, and what exactly is a 'replacement general?' (tbf the site does address those a bit). My bigger beef is that it doesn't consider how various leaders performed at the strategic level. Still, its interesting and fun, and more than worth it for these two paragraphs;

 



There were also generals that had surprisingly low total WAR despite a reputation as master tacticians. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate States Army, finished with a negative WAR (-1.89), suggesting an average general would have had more success than Lee leading the Confederacy’s armies. Lee was saddled with considerable disadvantages, including a large deficit in the size of his military and available resources. Still, his reputation as an adept tactician is likely undeserved, and his WAR supports the historians who have criticized his overall strategy and handling of key battles, such as ordering the disastrous ‘Pickett’s Charge’ on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. In the words of University of South Carolina professor Thomas Connely, “One ponders whether the South may not have fared better had it possessed no Robert E. Lee.”

German field marshal Erwin Rommel, nicknamed the ‘Desert Fox’ for his successes in North Africa during World War II, also performed poorly in this model, finishing with -1.953 WAR. This finding disputes the praise Rommel has received as a tactician from modern generals, including Norman Schwarzkopf and Ariel Sharon. However, like Lee, Rommel has been the subject of considerable historical debate. In particular, critics have attributed much of his reputation as a tactical genius to both German and Allied propaganda. British generals reportedly exaggerated Rommel’s tactical abilities in order to minimize disapproval regarding their defeats.

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